Ever since the Munich incident of 1972, where 11 Israeli athletes were killed, there have been no assaults on sports events.
The 3/3 terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket at Lahore is being viewed with torment by everyone in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the world. The uncomforting incident has caused eight deaths and around a dozen injuries including six Sri Lankan players. With a dedicated mission to implement, the assailants had brought with them heavy sums of arms and ammunition to cause maximum obliteration. The incident on the one hand speaks flaws in the security arrangements made for the visiting team, while on the other, is indicative of the fact that the attackers were well trained and had methodically rehearsed their actions before final blow on March 3, 2009. Until now, over two dozen people have been arrested on the charges of qualms, mostly from the areas along the Indo-Pak border. After evaluating the factors and motives behind the attack; Mr. Rehman Malik, advisor to the Prime Minister on internal affairs, said, “We suspect a foreign hand behind this incident. The democracy of the country has been undermined, and foreigners are repeatedly attacked to harm the country’s image.” United States pointed its fingers towards Al-Qaeda, Taliban or Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and also declared it as a new strategy of attack, ‘new terrorist strike of choice’. A former White House counter terrorism expert, Juan Zarate opined, “It’s likely that there will be more of these kinds of attacks, which are much more difficult to defend against”. There are many other views mostly from South Asian analysts, who suspect the elements of Tamil Tiger’s organization; the LTTE, behind the attack. Some analysts are even trying to establish a linkage between elements of LTTE and some Pakistan based banned Islamic organizations. A number of people even tried to link it with the Mumbai attacks of November 26, 2008. Indeed the attack is being viewed from various angles by analysts and security experts, with everyone agreeing on one point that; ‘it was an act of terrorism, scrupulously planned and exceptionally executed by well trained terrorists’. It is pertinent to highlight that in spite of stiff Indian opposition, Sri Lanka Government, while upholding its friendship with Pakistan, sent its cricket team to play a friendly series. The decision highly infuriated India, whose premier intelligence agency; RAW planned to disrupt the series through its traditional act of sabotage and insurrection. These malevolence designs of the RAW were even officially reported to Punjab Government on January 22, 2009, by the Crimes Investigation Department (CID). Regrettably, owing to the political turmoil and postings of the concerned security officials of the provincial government, all these reports and warnings were taken lightly. Following the attack, Indian officials and state media tried to forestall the incident with old rhetoric that the attack was undertaken by religious outfits like Lashkar-e-Tayba etc. Logic provided for this was based on an assumption that this religious outfit indeed wanted to kidnap some players of the Sri Lankan team and later use them for the release of its leader, Zakiur Rehman Naqvi, arrested in connection with Mumbai attacks. To supplement the disingenuous story of RAW, Indian Foreign, Defence and Home Ministers issued evocative statements. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee even said, “Unless infrastructure and facilities available to the terrorist organizations within Pakistan or territory under its control are completely dismantled, repetition of these incidents will take place”. Indeed these statements and misperceptions from Indian officials were an effort to project cynical image of Pakistan to international community. Beside other factors, the timing of the attack has to be analyzed critically. The terror attack has been conducted at a time once in the 25 years of insurrectionary history of Sri Lanka, RAW sponsored LTTE had almost lost its infighting with Sri Lankan state forces in February 2009 and its ailing leader Mr. Prabhakaran was airlifted by secret services elements of India to a safer location. Moreover there have been cooperation between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the field of defense and security and Pakistan has provided her with necessary military hardware which proved very supportive in quelling the insurgency, therefore India found the occasion as the most opportune to hunt both the countries with a single shot. Incontrovertibly, incidents of such magnitude could not have been done by any Pakistani or anyone having even a minutest love for Pakistan. Religious organizations in Pakistan would not have done that, mainly because there are neither commonalities of believes nor tangible rationales of acquaintances between LTTE and these Pakistan based religious organizations. Even the arrest of Zakiur Rehman Naqvi by Pakistani authorities is considered to be a preventive act; otherwise he or anyone else from Pakistani soil is not anticipated to be involved in the indistinct Mumbai attack. In reality, ever since it was foundation in 1968, RAW has radically contributed in the destabilization of Pakistan through its terrorist network operative in the country. Even today it has thousands of agents intruded inside Pakistani borders to create the nastiest security tribulations. Besides, its previously planted agents, in all eventualities, there is yet a likelihood that, LTTE elements might have been used by RAW for this attack on Sri Lankan team for four obvious rationales: firstly, Sri Lankan cricket team comprises of Sinhalese, which are the main target of LTTE and moreover their visit to Pakistan against the desires of India exasperated the RAW. Secondly; the desperate RAW backed LTTE, after losing the battle in Sri Lanka, must have tried to regain its significance by targeting the vulnerable events like cricket; thus demonstrating that the terrorist organization has the potential to carry out its activities elsewhere, outside the Sri Lankan borders. Thirdly; Pakistan has been providing the military aid to Sri Lankan Government for its counterinsurgency operations, which had caused distress in the camps of RAW and LTTE, both considered this, as the most appropriate occasion to level the score. Fourthly; the terrorist organization is basically trained and sponsored by RAW, under ‘Indra Doctrine’, therefore always acts on its orders to pursue its mission of destabilizing the neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan. Apart from the lapse in the security arrangements, it is very palpable that, the incident was aimed at slandering Pakistan and declaring it, a state utterly unsecure for the conduct of any international event on its soil. It has also placed caution on the visits of foreign nationals in Pakistan, in a way; pushing it towards an economic and political commotion. In the wake of the damaging role being played by RAW, the security of such like events cannot be left to the law enforcing agencies only. Time has come where nation as whole has to rise to the occasion by becoming fully cognizant of its security intimidation, especially those covert activities, emanating from across the borders. Apart from the national leadership, intelligentsia and the media must play a positive role through a campaign of awareness among the masses of Pakistan against such like incidents in the future.